Merging Equipment + Architectural Planning

By David Watts, AIA, Principal

Intelligent medical equipment planning increases facility efficiency and safety, but designers and equipment planners too often fail to consider thoroughly the ripple effects their decisions have on daily operations throughout the space. That approach leads to departments that simply do not work….with separate locations for related equipment forcing staff to take extra steps, makeshift workstations stuffed into corners far from patients, and a generally inefficient arrangement of equipment and work areas. Ideally, facility managers should ask their designers to make themselves familiar with both the architectural and medical equipment processes, to lead to a more integrated approach beginning with the planning phases.

A major challenge of integrating medical equipment planning from the beginning of the architectural process involves the competing chronological forces of early equipment decisions needed to design a hospital properly, and rapidly evolving technology that may render early decisions obsolete. Designers and hospital staff can work together to reconcile these opposing pressures. The practical suggestions include information on what to document when, how to leave enough space for flexibility without over-building, and how to address trends in equipment development.